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Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker Hardcover – February 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006076001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060760014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moneymaker's improbable 2003 victory at the World Series of Poker (where he was an untested amateur player) has been seen on ESPN's WSOP series as many times as a Seinfeld rerun. Here, with veteran coauthor Paisner, Moneymaker (the publisher insists this is his real name) presents a blow-by-blow, hand-by-hand account of the experience. Unlike James McManus in Positively Fifth Street, Moneymaker eschews analyzing the psychology and milieu of the poker world in favor of his real interest: gambling. The result is a sophisticated deconstruction of the important hands Moneymaker played as the tournament progressed, many already famous among fans of the WSOP. For connoisseurs, this offers an entertaining and insightful insider analysis that will allow them to decide for themselves whether Moneymaker was fabulously lucky or played a skillful game and thus deserved his success. For the uninitiated, the excitement of Moneymaker's progression toward the big prize will be enough to thoroughly engage. Readers also get some surprisingly candid glimpses into a gambler's consciousness--one that reflects the myth of American exceptionalism, the idea that each of us is entitled to make and to break our own rules, and to make our own luck.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With all the poker how-to books available now, why another one? Well, this one is more about the story than about the cards. Moneymaker (yes, that's his name, and he's teased about it every day) was just a guy who played cards. When he earned a seat to play in the World Series of Poker by putting up only $40 through an online casino, he figured he'd be relegated to the "coulda" camp by the middle of day one. Instead, he went on to win that illustrious series, picking up a cool $2.5 million. Overcoming first-day jitters, sitting with his heroes, learning from the pros--Moneymaker describes it all with glee and, even now, with a sense of unbelief, the feeling that he can't believe it really happened. That's the beauty of this story: Moneymaker is an Everyman for the gambling ages--if he could do it, why not me? It's no wonder Internet gaming is at an all-time high, with true-life rags-to-riches stories like this one to inspire us. With the help of coauthor Paisner, Moneymaker details the key hands of the tourney and his feelings as each day's play concludes and the next one begins. The account ends with a brief bio of the author's life since his victory. Some standard back matter, including a what-beats-what list and a glossary, round out this thoroughly entertaining book. A must for any gambling collection. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Moneymaker doesn't try to come across as a brain, which is the big strength of this book.
Card Player
I bought this book to learn more about Chris Moneymaker and his exciting adventure to win the 2003 World Series of Poker.
S. Petranek
Well-written, entertaining book that anyone who likes poker, or gambling in general, should read.
Sean Iske

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are a couple things to keep in mind right from the start in thinking about the phenomenon of Chris Moneymaker, amateur Internet player, who wins the World Championship of Poker in 2003. One, he really is an amateur, or at least was when he won the coveted bracelet; and two, there's a good bit of luck involved in winning any poker tournament. No player ever won one without being lucky a time or two, and usually more often than that. Moneymaker, as this book reveals, was a bit luckier than most.

Here's another thing to keep in mind. It would seem that a poker player who cut his eyeteeth on the Internet game would be at some kind of serious disadvantage to players used to playing live. I say this because on the Internet the only tells you can pick up (or give away) relate to how long it takes to bet, and, to be honest, these tells aren't very reliable since God only knows what the other player may be doing besides playing poker. Many players play more than one table at a time, and that can account for the gaps in response when it's their turn to act. So Chris Moneymaker, a kind of not too sophisticated young guy, an accountant from Tennessee with credit card debt and a wife and kid to support, would not seem the sort of guy who would suddenly discover an incredible ability to read players or to be unreadable himself.

But what Moneymaker proves, as he narrates this unlikely tale (filtered through skillful wordsmithing by professional writer Daniel Paisner), is that for one tournament, you may not need all the skills. Stamina in the five-day tournament, averaging over ten hours of play per day, can be an important factor, especially against the older players. And Moneymaker had stamina. But he really wasn't very good at reading the other players.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lee Mellott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am not a poker player..don't know how to play the game, but I was fascinated by Chris Moneymaker's book, "Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker".

Though many people reading the book will know exactly how its played, I wasn't sure what Chris meant when he talked about the blind, the flop, the river etc. Chris has an explanation of the game and cards at the back of the book. Sadly I didn't realize this till I had finished the book. So take a peek at the back if you don't know how to play.

Chris, started gambling as a child. As he grows older he works hard to make a few dollars but then will rashly toss $500 or even a thousand into a bet for a sports game.

Eventually Chris begins to play the game of poker and enters a $40 Pokerstars internet competition. The game goes very well that Chris eventually scores first prize: a $10,000 seat at Binion"s Championship Poker.

Chris recounts his thoughts and feelings as he faces opponents, and walks away with the grand prize of 2.5 million dollars...a nice chunk of change!

Though Chris tends to whine and make excuses for when he loses, (I was drunk...I was tired...) he writes a very interesting book. You feel like you are at the poker table with him and you get a backstage feel for the championship.

Super read and I am sure a heck of a lot more people are entering the Pokerstars $40 tournaments these days!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover

"The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt by those with an academic bent."

This is an actual quotation (by a famous poker player) found in this fascinating, well-written, and often humorous book by Chris Moneymaker. Yes! That's his real name. (Daniel Paisner, an author, also helped with the writing.) This book definitely proves the above quote and effectively conveys how Moneymaker "turned $40 into $2.5 million at the [2003] world series of poker."

This is not a strategy book. However, the reader will pick up a few tips as Moneymaker recounts the days that led up to him winning the 2003 world series of poker. Day one (there are five days altogether) of his incredible journey to become a poker champion is interweaved with biographical details of his life.

Moneymaker was not, as the book's subtitle states, an "amateur poker player" or, in fact, was not an amateur gambler. He was, however, an amateur poker tournament player.

Starting with day two, there are "chip leaders" lists for each day. The tournament that Moneymaker was involved in (which he ultimately won) had a total prize pool of $7,802,700.

There are appendices at the end of the book each of which is called a "crib sheet." People not familiar with poker will find them invaluable especially the ones entitled "A short course in Texas Hold'em (this was the type of poker game that the tournament Moneymaker was involved in played) and "A glossary of poker terms.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lauritzen on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is far from a how-to book on poker. I'd say its more of a how-NOT-to on life, especially where gambling is concerned. Chris Moneymaker touches on his life story while describing the events and some of the key hands that led to his winning the 2003 World Series of Poker tournament. The thing I respect most about his story is that he lets you have the good AND the bad. He pats himself on the back where appropriate, but humbly lets you learn from his mistakes too.

As a novice poker player I found the blow by blow description of his poker experiences interesting and often informative. You get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes at a tournament like this, an idea of what it feels like to suddenly find yourself up against some of the big names, and some insight into what goes thru someone's mind when thousands, and then millions are riding on what you do with a couple playing cards you're holding in front of you. A book like The Super System tells you how to play poker - this book tells you what its like to play poker at the top.

Meanwhile, other parts of the book left me wanting to slap him for the stupid decisions he made in his life, and then shake his hand for being honest and generous enough to include the negative aspects - the devestating mistakes he made with his life, specifically his problems with gambling. A lesser man would have left this at a fairy tale-like "average Joe hits it big" story. Instead, he gives it all, the good and the bad.

Overall, the story moves along very nicely. Its honest and interesting. After reading the book I feel like I know the guy for what he is, a good guy, a good poker player, a down to earth type who isn't perfect and doesn't mind letting you know it.
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